Get access

Taking Charge: Teacher Candidates' Preparation for the Oral Proficiency Interview



Abstract: Within second language education, concern over teachers' content knowledge has typically manifested itself as concern over the teacher's target language proficiency. In increasing numbers, teacher preparation programs are turning to ACTFL's Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) for measurement of this proficiency and using OPI ratings as high-stakes tests of readiness for teaching. This study reports the results of a survey of 734 teacher candidates on how they prepare for this assessment, both individually and in their training programs. The results of the survey reveal significant differences in study strategies between candidates who score Advanced or above and those who score below that targeted range. The more successful candidates use more discourse- and culturally rich sources for language input and spend considerably more time using the target language outside of course requirements. Candidates provide useful guidance to teacher educators on what helps and what hurts their efforts to be successful.